Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spiritual Role Models: What Would Jorge Do?

Good Friday is hard for me.  But that's ok, it's supposed to be hard. What I wasn't expecting was the challenge that Holy Saturday brought.  A royal holding pattern, I felt awash is confusion and doubt.  Jesus has suffered and died.  He was hung on a cross one day prior.  Yet the day after, there is a general silence--a vapid void.  I decided to stay with that malaise and hold on for the impending joy of Easter.

Perhaps the difficulty in navigating the waters of Holy Saturday is because no one has directed us on what we ought to do or how we should be.  When I don't know the moral way, a helpful question I ask myself is What would Jesus do? But, today these words found their limit.  Jesus' descent to the dead confounds me.  However, with Pope Francis in the Holy See, I believe I found an answer. What would Jorge do? If you have followed this humble servant, you know exactly what he would do--he would pray and he would serve the poor.


I know I needed his example (and was grateful for it) as I rolled out of my bed on Good Friday at 6:00 a.m. to work at Martin de Porres a soup kitchen.  It's funny because the regret I felt as I turned off my alarm wasn't that it was early in the day, but that I would miss my 6:30 a.m. Body Pump (weight training) class.  Physical discipline isn't something I struggle to maintain.  My spiritual discipline however needs to get back in shape.
  
Pope Francis is an appealing role model for spiritual discipline because he makes it look easy.  In the same way that the best crew makes rowing look smooth, balanced and effortless, Jorge makes doing simple things for the poor, a natural if not appealing choice.
And the reality is something much different.  Working with the poor isn't necessarily fun or easy.  On Friday, folks were particularly ornery.  Because it was close to the end of the month, when most SSI checks have been cashed out, patience runs low and tempers flair high.  One woman yelled non-stop about how much pain she was in.  It was hard to hear.  But just because it's difficult, doesn't mean its unimportant.  Jorge and Jesus have confirmed this with their words and their actions.

As Bono notes in his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, It's not a coincidence that in the scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It's not an accident. That's a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions. (You know, the only time Christ is judgmental is on the subject of the poor.) 'As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me' (Matthew 25:40). As I say, good news to the poor.

I think working with the poor may be one of the most important spiritual disciplines period.  We know we are supposed to care for the poor, but actually going out and doing it is another matter.  So I am grateful for Pope Francis as a spiritual role model.  I want to become a better Christian, and I think working with the poor and committing myself to other spiritual disciplines--like prayer and silence is the way to increase my faith.
This approach has certainly worked for me in the past.  For example, I became a better athlete when I became a coach.  As a visual learner, I need examples of how to execute, what it looks like to work hard--to pull hard, to train hard, the compete hard.  I am talking really hard.  Several athletes color my memory.  

Al Bannis took every erg test without fear.  I've never seen a rower approach the erg like Al Bannis.  If an inanimate object could feel fear, I think it should be the rowing machine that was assigned to her 2000 meter erg test.  Or when I need to picture commitment to excellence, grit and determination, Caitlin DeBarbarie comes to mind.  Not once did I need to check on Caitlin to determine if she completed her push-ups or held a plank for a minute, for a minute and a half, or for two minutes.  Even today, when I struggle to build my core, I think back to Caitlin and her discipline.  

I am grateful for these athletes and countless others, because I saw the fruit of their labor.  Their teams were stronger, their peers had an understanding of what their coaches were asking for and these athletes inspired others to bring their best.  Not everyone was as competitive as Al, but she sure made it easier to see that maybe we could.

Today, I work out primarily on my own.  As an adult, save from a few leagues I have played in or friends I have trained with, we are our own sources of discipline, commitment and support.  If I don't show up at the gym this week, guess who notices?  Guess who holds me accountable? One person and one person only--me.  But that is not my struggle.  Getting to the gym or finding time to workout isn't a challenge for me.  It's so integrated into my life and such a given priority that I can't imagine another way.

Spiritual discipline however, is another story.  Certain commitments are non-negotiable, I have a community of faith, but the part that is of my own accord needs more discipline, more effort and practice.  I'm grateful for the role models who are doing the heavy lifting and giving what they have--their time, their hearts, their lives.  Sounds like the recipe for a good workout.

Photo Credits
Pope Francis washes feet

Balanced Crew
Christ thinking of the poor
Holy Saturday icon

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sports Can Provide: "A Little of that Human Touch"

I have no idea if you work place is anything like mine. But since the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis, something has changed. Colleagues are excited, hopeful, even joyful when speaking about the Church leadership. A small part of me keeps waiting for the shoe to drop, but for now I will enjoy the ride. It's been a nice change of pace.
Case in point, one of the "resident critics" had us gather around his computer to watch a video clip entitled "Pope descended Pope mobile to bless disabled man before Inagural Mass." He pressed replay with tears in his eyes.  We saw the Holy Father go out of his way, much to the dismay of his security team, to meet a severely disabled man.  When Pope Francis reaches him, he kisses his forehead and touches his shoulder to their mutual delight. The Pope exchanges words with the man's caregiver and he returns again to this man and blesses him. 

I wondered why I was so moved by something so simple.  I decided it was time I take off the rose colored glasses I've been wearing with this new papacy and revisit my question.  What is the big deal? Why was my heart bursting?  

I've said it once and I'll say it again, or Springsteen will (excuse me!) "It's a little of that Human Touch."

For the first few years of our lives, we are enveloped by it.  We are held, passed from family member to family member--hugged and kissed, loved and blessed.  I remember with great fondness one uncle who always said to my sister and me, "I love my nieces to pieces" as he tortured us with affection.  As we grow older, how we express affection changes and during our teenage years, it is tricky.  

Adolescence is a time when young men and women who want love and affection have difficulty figuring out how they can express it.
Girls have a little more liberty in sharing hugs with one another and affection to their parents. For boys, its not a given. Sure, there are outliers and I can think of a a few special ones, like Brett.  Officially the "strongest man in the school" this linebacker ate the "750 lb. club" for lunch. For Brett, "Thou-Pow" was his main meal (that's a combined total of 1000 lbs between the dead lift, squat and bench press).  

He gave hugs to men and women, boys and girls.  His embrace was beloved.  It always brought a smile to the victim and the perpetrator.  But Brett stands out because albeit a wonderful and open expression of healthy affection, it was the exception—not the rule.  Was it safe for Brett to be openly affectionate with his peers because he was so comfortable in his own skin?  Yes. Would others be this way if they could?  I think so...  

Regardless, the question remains: Where are teens finding love, acceptance and affection? I realized it isn't in a way the media often portrays a drunken hook-up or only on prom night.  No--there's a very real place for high school males to openly share affection—and they are already doing it, perhaps without even knowing it. It's on the volleyball and basketball court, the football field, and even at the finish line. It's in sports.

I attended a varsity boys volleyball game on the same day I saw the aforementioned Papal video.  I never leave one of their games without some sort of impression or appreciation.  On this day, I noticed just how much "human touch" takes place on and off the court.  Guys are subbed in frequently; one won't leave the court without a high five to his teammate.  Good hits, bad hits, missed hits and winners all bring a number of guys to reach out to one another--knuckle tap, to a slap on the butt, a shoulder meet shoulder jump in the air, a low five or a high five.  They say we need "6 hugs a day and 12 for growth." This team is meeting their quota and going beyond.
I know this creates a bond among players; coaches are equally affectionate.  In a society that all too often knows affection in a way that has been compromised or exploited, this was a breath of fresh air. I applaud this team and their coaches for giving these young men a safe place to recreate, work toward a common goal and care for one another in the process.  I hope and pray they are one of many teams that offers the gift of love.

Many cultures express affection more comfortably and naturally than Americans do. It must be those Puritanical roots.  It reaches a deep human need. I was reminded of that need in watching Pope Francis.  He met a stranger with open arms. He was moved by his spirit enough to kiss, touch and bless him. He was responding to his humanity and a fundamental desire we all share—to love and to be loved. Sports teams at their best can offer a place for this to happen—with a little human touch.

Photo Credits
Pope Frances touches man

Up Close
Boys VB

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gamechangers: Pope Francis and ...

Variety may be the spice of life, but so are novelty foods and beverages!  When my friend shared a spoonful of chocolate coconut peanut butter--novelty food extraordinaire, I didn't know what to do but put it on my semi-bland pumpkin muffin.  Suddenly, my breakfast was transformed.  I looked at her and said "it's a game changer."  She smiled because she knew exactly what I meant...
Game changers wake us up.  They see and do things in a new way.  As the risk of being overly redundant, they change the game (no!).  We recognize their true impact over the course of time, but it's safe to say we can also recognize them in the here and now.  

Sports is the domain where we first called this term, and they are rich with examples--male and female, across the board.  The first one that comes to mind (good, bad or otherwise) for me is Tiger Woods.  His commitment to weight lifting and physical fitness wasn't just for an issue of Men's Health. His game was different because of his discipline. Consequently, golf has become more respected as a game that holds much more than the mental stamina.  The physical demands are real.  

I encourage you to name your favorite game changer-- Is it Forty Niner coach Bill Walsh with his "west coast offense?" Dick Fosbury for the high jump? or Billie Jean King for tennis? Some folks may be given more credit than deserved e.g. Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne didn't invent the forward pass, but he certainly popularized it,  being among the first in football, running a major program (and succeeding with it).  Regardless, the notion of a "game changer" invites dialogue and debate, reflection and respect.


And it seems that the Catholic church has a "game changer" at its helm.  Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been Pope Francis for less than a month, and every day I hear new stories, watch different video clips of the Holy Father doing what few popes have done (taking the bus home on the evening of his appointment as the 265th predecessor of St. Peter) and now going where few popes have gone before.  
And this is literally true as I came to learn this morning from Catholic On-line "On Holy Thursday, 28 March, the Holy Father Francis will celebrate the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning and then, at 5:30pm in the afternoon, will go to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper at the Casal del Marmo youth detention center instead of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where it had been traditionally held in past years."


No Pope has ever said Holy Thursday mass in a prison before.  This gesture shouldn't be a surprise to those who are familiar with the demands of the Gospel.  In Matthew 25:35-36 Jesus lays out his demands to his disciples "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me." 

For those that know him, this gesture isn't a surprise either. "In his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio used to celebrate the Mass in a prison or hospital or hospice for the poor and marginalized. With this celebration at Casal del Marmo, Pope Francis will continue his custom, which is characterized by its humble context."

But that's what "game changers" do.  They take what their tradition and area of expertise offers and make it better. They ask a new spin on what is getting done or at least needs to be.  Be it the leader of the Catholic church taking the tradition of visiting those in prison and doing it during our holiest week or supplementing an athletic feat with a new discipline or dimension, "game changers" show that the spirit is moving, it is alive and at work in our world and in one another.  

Photo Credits
Gamechangers

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Two Powerful Words that Speak to Us in Light of the Death of the Seton Hill Lacrosse Coach: I Understand


When I read the tragic results of a bus crash off the Pennsylvania Turnpike resulting in the death of Seton Hill women's lacrosse coach Kristina Quigley, I immediately thought of the words of Haley Scott DeMaria, who gave the commencement address at University of Notre Dame's 2012 graduation ceremony.   She said

As I stand before you today, we have many things in common. The list of those who have stood at this podium at past commencements is certainly impressive, and I am honored to be added to that list. However, there are two words I am able share with you that few before me can:  I understand. 
I understand what it is like to sit where you sit as graduates of the University of Notre Dame. 
I understand that while football weekends are awesome, it can be annoying to have the quads and the bookstore crowded with alumni - people like me, and soon you. 
I understand the fun and challenges of parietals, Du Lac and Pig Tostal. 
I understand what it is like to lose a classmate in a very tragic way. (Declan Sullivan was tragically killed when a film tower fell over during football practice).
As graduates, all Notre Dame alumni celebrate today with you. But the class of 2012 and my undergraduate class of 1995 share sadness as well. 
The loss of life at a young age is an emotional experience that will stay with you long after you leave Notre Dame. I understand. 
You will find, as you navigate through life, the words, "I understand," are very powerful when they are sincere and honest.   
Haley a varsity swimmer at Notre Dame survived the 1991 bus crash that killed two of her teammates.  She understands what Quigley's team is going through yesterday, today and in the weeks to come....and yet her understanding ...everyone's understanding is both similar and different.
Having coached the last 11 years at St. Ignatius I understand exactly where she was sitting, just behind the bus driver, who also died.  We coaches always sit in the front perch.  We are in dialogue with the driver (hoping they get the directions right!), completing paper work, overseeing our athletes from near and from afar.  I have always made a point to be first on the bus to greet the girls and the last off to say farewell.  I assess their individual temperatures--are they excited? nervous? energetic? exhausted? hungover? (never a fun one) wearing flip flops? (our nemesis), smiling? A "hi coach" and "thanks coach" is met by "Good job today" or "Great run, so proud of you." When I saw the photo of the crash, I immediately understood why she died.  

But I don't understand so many other dimensions of this tragedy.   I don't understand what it's like to be on a team that loses a coach in such a tragic way.  I can't comprehend how scared every athlete on board must have felt or what it might be like to live with survivor's guilt.  Truly, I hope God's grace reigns supreme.

Haley Scott DeMaria added "These words, 'I understand' carry the strongest meaning when someone has lived through a similar experience."  Many people know what it is like to lose a spouse; too many others know the tragedy of losing an unborn child.  Her husband will raise their six year old son, Gavin without her. This cross confounds me; thanks be to God that other people can say "I understand."  

Haley's own story is remarkable. Chronicled in "What Though the Odds," Haley recalls the accident that occurred by 30 miles from campus and left her paralyzed from the waist down.  Not only did she regain the use of her legs, she competed again.  She has worked though the pain and grief of her own injury, the loss of her two fellow teammates and how the tragedy has shaped who she is to offer a story of inspiration.  Nothing about her road to recovery physically or emotionally was easy.  To say those words "I understand" is often at a cost--one that no one would ever wish for.  

In my junior ethics course, I ask my students to respond to three prompts at the beginning of our Life Issues unit.
1.  Life is a gift.
2.  My life does not totally belong to just me.
3.  Out of great suffering can come great good.

Invariably, they speak to the truth in each statement.   
What this story reminds us of is a life lesson that never gets old--life is a gift.  Second, our lives have an impact on everyone--perhaps more than we will ever know.  In that way, it is so much larger than "just me." This was a known fact with Coach Quigley.  "She was a very happy person, very passionate about life, about her players, about her job and most importantly about her family," Lastly, I live in the hope that although no one can and should see it now, some good will come from this tragedy.  If anything, it may just be the reminder of those powerful words, "I understand."  When you can--use them. And when you can't, say a prayer for those who can.

Photo Credits
Bus Crash 
Haley Book 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Is Pope Francis a Sports Fan?!

When the black smoke changed to white, I waited for nearly 45 minutes to see who would emerge from behind the curtain.  In that time, I made last minute declarations of my hopes and fears for Benedict's successor.  The predictions of trusted co-workers and even "the line" in Vegas filled my head as my heart beat anxiously to learn who was named the new leader of the Catholic Church.  The Holy See.  

My colleague ran into the room declaring "it's the Jesuit!  The Argentine Bishop!"  She said his name with a beautiful Italian accent as I rolled my eyes.  Teaching at St. Ignatius, we are just a bit a Jesuit-centric.  The word "catholic" means "universal"--the Church is so much larger than one religious community. But I digress.  After her pronouncement the room went silent, for that is all we knew of the 265th predecessor of the apostle St. Peter.   

As the world awaited to know just Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio? What name he would choose as il Papa? Is he conservative or progressive? I wanted to know one thing--is he a sports fan?
It's true, my concerns were about something much lower.  Although important, I was not as interested in his education (According to the Vatican’s website, he holds a degree as a chemical technician, but then chose the priesthood and entered the seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958 he moved to the novitiate in Chile where he finished studies in the humanities. In 1963, on returning to Buenos Aires, he obtained a degree in philosophy at the St. Joseph major seminary where he also obtained a degree in theology. In March of 1986 he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis) or how many languages he speaks (he is proficient in five) as whether or not he's an athlete.  Does he have a favorite sport or team?  How does he recreate?

Fortunately, I found an answer!  Cubs fans--you have found a kindred spirit! a sympathetic soul.  Not only does he stand in solidarity with common folk (he takes the bus to the tribunal, he lives in a humble residence rather than the Archbishop's mansion and cooks his own meals) he knows what it's like to suffer because of a sports loyalty.  How so?  He supports the San Lorenzo soccer club.  
According to a Yahoo! news report, 
"He says he lives in a permanent state of suffering for San Lorenzo," said Oscar Lucchini, an architect and fellow fan who handed Bergoglio's membership card to him after that mass about four years ago. 
The Buenos Aires club wasted no time in promoting that fact via their Twitter account, sharing an undated picture of Pope Francis holding up the San Lorenzo crest and a scan of his club membership card (both below), which shows that he's been a member since 2008. San Lorenzo also count actor Viggo Mortensen among their biggest supporters. Yes, the High King of the Reunited Kingdom
Pope Francis being a San Lorenzo fan is perhaps fitting. The club was named after local priest Father Lorenzo Massa, who let children play football in his church's yard so they wouldn't have to do it amongst the dangerous trams in the street. San Lorenzo are currently in 12th place in the Argentine Primera Division, but now that they have the papacy on their side, they will probably expect to start rising up the table any minute now.
Knowing a person's passions makes them relatable.  It speaks to their humanity. Although I believe some dimensions of the Pope's role as the leader of the Catholic Church are truly supernatural and appropriately guided by the hand of God, other tasks, decisions and duties are totally natural.  To love a team, a sport, or an athlete only reaffirms that Pope Francis whose greatest loyalty is the Divine is but one of us.  
Viva il Papa!  Viva Francesco!  Pace e Bene! AMDG.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Case for Thank-You Notes: The LPGA

There is nothing more I would rather NOT watch than the LPGA.  

This shouldn't be true.  I love watching golf on TV.  I find it tremendously relaxing while appropriately intense. The aerial views from the course allow for incredible vision--the flight of the 1.68 inch ball is never lost.  The beauty of many courses is near therapeutic for me. 

Yet, I want nothing to do with the women's tour. I know the players are extremely talented--my own female students who play on the varsity team are outstanding.  I would be thrilled to play like them. And the professional level is a quantum leap in execution, mechanics and grace under pressure from that goal.  I could learn a lot from these ladies. but I find no appeal in watching them play.  I figured most golf fans are like me and wouldn't be upset if the LPGA faded into oblivion.  It almost did.
In the same way that professional doubles tennis is on life-support, so too was women's golf.   In The Case for the LPGA, "In 2010, the tour staged only 24 tournaments down from 34 two years earlier."  Sponsorships was down as the tour lacked big name recognition.  If pressed, I could name but two female golfers--Michelle Wie and Lorena Ocoha.  Wie played on the men's tour she was so good--which said something to me about the appeal/draw of the women's tour and Ochoa retired.  Golf thrives on a "cash cow."  Not having any big name stars wasn't helping the situation.

This struggle was a striking contrast to the explosive popularity of the men's tour.  The 2012 US Open hosted by the Olympic Club here in San Francisco had three times the number of attendees than it did in 1999.  The USGA erected stands to accomodate for these crowds; thank God they did--everyday was packed!  The Golf Channel has made coverage of the sport more available than ever.  

And to my surprise that coverage of late hasn't been limited to the PGA.  No, the hiring of Mike Whan as commissioner has ensured that "there will be a record 360 hours of TV coverage--93% of which will be live."  Unbeknownest to me, the LPGA is on an upswing.  It's success proves what good leadership can do. That and a thank you note.
Whan has played up the globalization of the tournament schedule.  He has cultivated relationships with an international palate of sponsors and encouraged players to show appreciation to them for their support.  The players go out of their way to meet and greet these sponsors. They are able to do this because "before each tournament, players receive a two-page dossier on the sponsors. These include head shots of key executives and their clients....and addresses where players can mail thank-you notes."  

Ah...the thank you note.  How many of us grew up loathing the exercise of committing our gratitude to writing?  I know friends who feel pressure after wedding and baby showers to crank out the thank-you notes. No doubt, a good problem to have.  But a problem never to take for granted.  
I believe in a ministry of letter writing.  The power of the hand-written word cannot and should not be underestimated.  Whan said "I had a CEO tell me that in the middle right-hand drawer of his desk he keeps handwritten notes that have been meaningful to him.  Of the hundred notes, he said 90 were from LPGA players."  

And equally important is the message itself--thank you.  Scripture names for us the tendency to forget. The Cleansing of the Lepers is a parable that reminds me of this truth.
As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met [him]. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us! And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed.  And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”  Luke 17: 11-19
I find it appropriate that the percentage of notes the CEO kept is the inverse of those mentioned in the parable.  Clearly, the LPGA is doing something right.  Founded 22 years before Title IX, it's rooted in something good.  It serves as the professional platform where the talents of female golfers are on display for the world (literally) to see.  I'll try to give it another look....or at the very least, it's business model.

Photo Credits
LPGA logo

Mike Whan
Wie Wins

Sunday, March 3, 2013

When Black Comes Home....

Apparently, black is the new black.  I've never totally understood when people declare that a certain color e.g. "pink" is the new black.  And I've never understood why teams that have respectable, handsome colors opt for the all black uniform.  And no, I'm not talk about the Kiwi Rugby team, the "All-Blacks."  NB: that has one of the coolest team names.  This trend is near and far--from Stanford to the University of Oregon, the Seahawks to the Saints.  Black looks sharp and fierce; it can make a fast athlete appear that much faster.  But to me, it lacks spirit.  It feels disconnected.
I was often critical of teams that wore it--perhaps they were compensating for a lack of history and tradition?  For example, I can't imagine that the University of Michigan would co-opt in their beloved maize and blue for black.  My goodness, fans yell "Let's go Blue!"

And then, black came home.  On November 29, 2012 the Notre Dame Men's basketball team unveiled black uniforms as they took on the University of Kentucky.  Who knows if that black fueled the team to their 64-50 rout over the eighth ranked team in the country.

I was however confused and mildly disgusted.  Why were we selling out?  I thought, Is this another marketing ploy?  A small part of me felt betrayed--I have spent a lot of air time clarifying to the non-Notre Dame faithful what our colors are.  Because our mascot is the Fighting Irish, it's natural to think we are represented by green and gold.  And on special occasions we are.  But according to UND.com, the Athletics Department's web source, 
The origin of school colors can be traced back to the founding of the University. At the time of its founding in 1842, Notre Dame's original school colors were yellow and blue; yellow symbolized the light and blue the truth. However, sometime after the Dome and Statue of Mary atop the Main Building was gilded, gold and blue became the official colors of the University.
So why the black? I don't know.  Perhaps like the "Shamrock Shake" series that you will see for 2013 post-season play "the team and recruits love them" is the answer.  

Regardless, I write this post because well over half the time I hold a strong and judgmental stance, something unexpected affects my view.  The Notre Dame black uniform was no exception.  The Notre Dame men's basketball website reports:
As relief efforts continue for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and most notably for those in the state of New Jersey, the Fighting Irish basketball team is getting involved in the cause. 
A special online auction will be held from Jan. 7-17, 2013 on Notre Dame's official web site und.com as fans have the opportunity to bid on several unique items. Proceeds from the auction will be presented to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Christie, a longtime friend of Irish head coach Mike Brey, is scheduled to be in attendance at the Notre Dame-Rutgers game at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 8:00 pm (ET). 
The top and highest bidding items were the special black uniforms designed by adidas and worn by the Irish during Notre Dame's 64-50 win on Nov. 29 against eighth-ranked Kentucky. The uniforms in the auction will be those of starters Eric Atkins (#0), Scott Martin (#14),Jerian Grant (#22), Pat Connaughton (#24) and Jack Cooley (#45).
When I read this, I suddenly saw those uniforms with new eyes.  They looked so sharp!  I wanted one to hang in my hypothetical office? game room? Notre Dame wall of fame?!  I ate my (black) crow and put in my bid.
I won't go so far to say that Notre Dame took lemons to make lemonade.  Rather, I will let this lesson be an example by which to remind myself that a healthy suspicion toward marketing might be justified, never underestimate that it can also be put toward something good.  Black came home, but we did with it what I hope Notre Dame would do.

What are your thoughts on black uniforms?  Not exactly a moral issue...but a fun one.

Photo Credits
Shamrock Shake

Cooley
Black out
Big Win